Toyota Prius Luxury Test Drive Review
It was a fine Saturday morning in May 2013, where I sent my beloved Toyota Vios to the Toyota Service Center in Prai for a major service (40,000KM). I was told I would have to wait from 11am to 3pm as I expected. I’d brought my laptop to do my work and to kill time but then I saw the Toyota Prius Luxury through the showroom’s glass.
Then I had the urge to test drive the Toyota Prius Luxury!
I approached the counter to request for a Toyota Prius Luxury test drive. They appointed one young sales advisor guy to attend to me. As usual, they has to photocopy my IC and license for the insurance purposes. After we completed the procedures, we proceeded to the Toyota Prius Luxury test drive.
I was welcomed by seats that are furnished with luxury black leather seats upon I open the Toyota Prius Luxury door. The front leather seats are equipped with heating functions too, though it may not be very useful in our hot weather country, Malaysia but it certainly is useful for the countries with winter season. The heating function helps to keep the butt warm during the chilling weather.
To start the engine, I step on the brake and simultaneously I press the push start button on the dashboard. Then the Toyota Prius Luxury engine started and I observed the engine has low running noise. The engine start up noise is more quiet than my Toyota Vios.
Even though the Toyota Prius Luxury is furnished with noise-absorbing and insulating materials but it failed to insulated the noise better than the Honda Civic 1.8S.
Based on the sales adviser, the Toyota Prius Luxury should have started up with the electric motor instead of the engine, but because the electric motor was less than 60% of full charge capacity, the Toyota Prius Luxury has to be started up by the engine instead, as pre-programmed in the ECU.
Toyota Prius Luxury’s interior and the dashboard looks plain to me but the car was equipped with a lot of unusual high technology features!
What’s so high tech about the interior is there is no analogue gauge meter on the dashboard but filled with advanced Multi-Information Display that shows the battery charging information, temperatures, driving average speed, cruising range and many more. The display is integrated with steering control that keep the driving attention on the road all the time.
Toyota Prius Luxury comes with automatic air-conditioners that ensures the cabin stays comfortable at the selected temperature and has a pollen removal mode and clean air filter.
The JBL audio system is integrated with 8-channel amplifiers and 8-speakers comes with a 6.1 Touch Screen Display compatible with USB, CD-player, AUX jack, bluetooth and reverse camera.
Another fantastic feature of this Toyota Prius Luxury is the Head-Up Display (HUD). HUD shows the speed of the car and as Hybrid System Indicator.
What really grabbed my attention was the small gear knob, the Electronic Shift Lever, which enabled us to shift the gear effortlessly. There are only 4 different gears to choose from, which are Reverse, Neutral, Drive and B. The gear knob automatically bounces back to center point after shifting to the desired gear.
With all the above features I mentioned about the interior, I feel more like driving a spaceship instead of a car! LOL, thanks to the car which is packed with so many great features!
Oh ya, the handbrake is beside the brake pedal which is released and pressed with left foot!
On the other feature, the rear mirror (Electro Chromic Mirror) will automatically dim to reduce the glare for the driver. The Toyota Prius Luxury come with cruise control feature too.
Now, we are ready to drive around the town with the car. This sales adviser is considerate, he allowed me to drive further than the test drive route so that I can really test out the Toyota Prius Luxury. Our driving route is from Toyota SC, Prai until Seberang Jaya Highway before making a turning back to Toyota SC., that would be around 10km distance test drive.
The car moved effortlessly powered by the engine mode. The ratio of the accelerator pedal is just perfect, it is not too sensitive yet does not required a strong foot step to control the pedal according to my desired speed.
Toyota Prius Luxury is packed with 1.8 litre 2ZR-FXE engine that produces a maximum output of 73kW/5,200 rpm and a maximum torque of 142Nm (14.5kg-m)/4,000 rpm working together with a High Torque Electric Motor that produces maximum output of 60kW and maximum torque of 207Nm (21.1kg-m) that satisfies those who lust for power while driving.
While driving on the North-South Highway at Seberang Jaya, I managed to floor the accelerator pedal, the car’s engine immediately roared and down-shifted the gear to provide the car a boost of acceleration which allowed me to overtake any car effortlessly on the road for that moment.
If you ask me how the acceleration was, I can tell based on my other test drive experience, the momentum of the acceleration is similar to Honda Civic 1.8S but still far away compared to Peugeot 408 Turbo.
While cruising on the highway, I tried the PWR (power) mode and ECO (economy) mode but not EV (electric vehicle) mode due to the EV mode requiring battery more than 65% charged in the system. The battery had yet to charge to that state even after i finish my test drive.
Both PWR mode and ECO mode do really give significant performance to the Toyota Prius Luxury.
Acceleration with PWR mode, that allows higher RPM revving is so much powerful than ECO mode which limits the RPM from getting too high.
Handling of the car is not bad too, Toyota Prius Luxury is equipped with MacPherson Strut with Stabilizer Bar for Front Suspension and Torsion Beam for Rear Suspension.
Driving through potholes and uneven road doesn’t give much impact and vibration to the car. In fact, I feel the car is much comfortable than the Honda Civic 1.8S as it is less rigid in suspension tuning.
Toyota Prius Luxury is using Hybrid Synergy Drive that is lightweight ECB (Electronically Controlled Brake System) to provide optimum braking force. At the same time, it also enables highly efficient energy regeneration when the electric motor is not in use.
Another thing isToyota Prius Luxury outweighs Honda Insight 1.3L and Honda Civic Hybrid 1.5L is air-conditioner performance during idling (use to happen when we stuck in long traffic light or jam).
In Honda hybrid cars, both Honda Insight 1.3L and Honda Civic Hybrid 1.5 air-conditioner compressor circuit is cut off during idling as the engine shuts down which effects the air-conditioner performance in the cabin, thus producing hotter air from the cabin vent blower. This hot air is not happen in Toyota Prius Luxury, the air vent was still blowing comfortable chilling air during idling at traffic lights even though the engine had shut down in between. Bingo to this Toyota Prius Luxury.
Out of so many good things about Toyota Prius Luxury, there is a bad thing on the steering weight. I noticed it just as I was reaching back at the Toyota SC with slower speed (< 40km/h), the steering weigh ratio seem incorrect. The steering is heavy when I trying to make turning out of sudden. The steering weight ratio may not be so precise according to the speed but is working great on the high speed.
Toyota Prius Luxury comes with other great features such as stylish and auto-leveling projector headlamps, daylight running LED, auto rain sensor wipers, FM diversity antenna, and reverse camera.
Toyota Prius Luxury come with unwavering safety with 7 SRS airbags, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Control(VSC), Traction Control, Brake Assist and Electronically Controlled Braking- Regeneration.
Overall, Toyota Prius Luxury is a great hybrid and value for money car with a price of RM 145,515.30. For my American neighbors, that amounts to a little more than $30,000 USD. However, that cost can be offset by various tax incentives offered for alternative-energy vehicles. Just make sure you use the right tax estimators and calculators beforehand to figure this out. Overall though, the Prius comes with many great safety features and boasts a stylish exterior even though the interior is quite dull. If possible, I would like to own it someday.
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